A visit to the San Francisco Center for the Book

A visit to the San Francisco Center for the Book

Greetings from the Codex Book Fair! As you can see, it is a BUSY event. I’ve hardly had a chance to escape my booth the first two days, but I’m hoping to get out and about today amongst the viewers of books by 190 vendors! I’ll try to remember to take photos to post next week.


Last Friday and Saturday, I had the opportunity to teach a workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book. It was exciting to see how busy the center is! Over a period of two days, there were four workshops (Esther K Smith from Purgatory Pie Press in NYC was also in the house), Claire Van Vliet was setting up her exhibition, Janus Press at Sixty, and Hand Bookbinders of California held its meeting in the space, drawing a crowd of at least fifty. 

paper/wire lamps made by my students in our workshop this past weekend

Paper/wire lamps made by my students in our workshop this past weekend

My workshops usually feature a combination of techniques and projects, and it is always intriguing to see how students respond to what I show them (by that I mean what they make during the workshop). I like to expose them to a wide variety of paper possibilities, and at the same time, I try not to make it overwhelming. We started out making Envelope Folding Screens, a project from Playing With Paper. I love how you can mix and match paper colors and designs while creating stained glass window-like designs to slip into envelope pockets. 

Ewa's envelope folding screen in progress

Ewa’s envelope folding screen in progress

I introduced a new project at this workshop, which involved embedding wire between sheets of paper. SFCB does not have a papermaking studio so this was a dry workshop, and we adapted my wet paper technique for dry paper. The results were pretty good, and I can see a lot of potential for pushing this technique further.


We experimented with paper weaving as well, and I used my woven lantern as a hostess gift for the friends I stayed with all week.


They were so nice, providing me with dinner each night when I got home from the book fair! 



  1. Those paper wire “flowers” are a knockout.

  2. Sarah Christensen says:

    Your hostess gift is lovely, Helen! Would you mind sharing as to what lighting element you used?

    • Helen says:

      HI Sarah,
      That’s the demo piece I made during class. It is illuminated with a tea light in a glass holder.